I'm down to about 20 fps now with my FPS breakout and I still have not added lighting, etc, so it occurred to me I might as well get a card. Friday night, I was going to order one online, then I noticed Best Buy had a bottom-o-the-line GeForce G210 for $50, which is what they cost online. Best Buy also recycles electronics and I had some garbage so I hopped on the bus (ps. looked like the place was hit by a tornado during the day ).
I had the same set of problems I had last year with nvidia's drivers when I briefly owned a 9800. This might have been solvable, but complicating the situation was the fact my mobo did not like the G210 -- the pre-boot summary screen took ~ 5 minutes to render, and it cannot be disabled. After that everything is normal, but that is enough to make the whole system unusable anyway.
BIOSTAR, who made the mobo, have nothing about this on their site, and the last firmware update is one I already have. I now suspect the whole problem with the drivers is also related to the mobo, since it is an IRQ and/or APCI (!) issue. So I will never buy another BIOSTAR product.
To be honest, I'd rather avoid nvidia as well. I kind of got sucked in because it appeared that they had done a lot of work on the drivers and a lot of people have had success using them, but no doubt there are also a lot of people who have not.
Ideally, I'd like to use Xorg's DRI, which has a driver for ATI cards (I have to use a PCI-e slot) that can be used with a mesa 3D driver. There is an nv one, but according to them this was provided by nvidia obfuscated and does not work well (it did not work at all with the G210). There is some new project to replace this ("nouveau") but I did not bother to try it because of the power-on issue.
So, anyone out there done openGL stuff on linux with a GPU sucessfully? I'd really appreciate it if you'd provide:
1) the card/GPU chipset
2) the motherboard
3) what kind of frame rates you're getting
4) the driver, whether proprietary or Xorg
Like I said, I'd prefer to use the Xorg drivers, I am sure they are way more motivated wrt linux than either nvidia or ATI, but I'm willing to entertain anything.